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Russian Authorities Launch Investigation Following Progress Cargo Spacecraft Crash, Debris Inspected

Dec 06, 2016 03:56 AM EST
Russian Soyuz Spacecraft
Yurchikin and Fischer will return to Earth on June 2 after a 135-day mission, and filling the third seat of their flight is astronaut Whitson. Soyuz MS-04 is the 50th Soyuz spacecraft launched to the ISS.
(Photo : Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images)

In the Siberian region of Tuva in Russia, authorities are busy examining pieces of the debris left from the crash of the Progress cargo spaceship. The remnants were from the crash a week past after failing to reach orbit.

According to, authorities managed to spot two pieces, one of which was a large spherical object that had earlier been found by herders. The other piece was discovered in the courtyard of a residential home. Sanitation officers in the region had reportedly inspected the areas where the spacecraft pieces were found.

Upon inspection, no dangerous substances were found in the area. However, Sholban Karaa-ool, the region head of Tuva, strictly advised residents from touching any debris they may encounter.

A head at the environmental safety laboratory of the Moscow State University, Geochemist Tatyana Koroleva, adds that there is no immediate danger from the fallen debris. The chemicals in the spacecraft would have already burned out in the atmosphere.

The sole reason as to why residents had been advised to keep their distance was due to the risk of the parts being sold as scrap metal. Ironically, such instance had already happened in the past.

As for the crash of the Progress cargo spacecraft, Russia's space agency Roscosmos has started an investigation for reasons behind the crash. According to reports, the crash could have been caused by an engine failure in the third-stage rocket, Soyuz-U.

"This recent failure was the Soyuz-U's 776th launch and the carrier's 22nd accident, meaning that the Soyuz-U's accident rate is 2.8 percent," Ivan Moiseev, the director of the Institute of Space Policy (ISP), told a local news outlet. "In general, an unmanned rocket is expected to have a five percent accident rate."

Despite the failed launch, Russia has another launch of the Progress cargo ship scheduled on February 2. Yet, the launch could be delayed following the investigation of the crash. If the engines in the third-stage rocket are deemed faulty, all engines of the Soyuz rockets would have to undergo re-tests, Slash Gear reports.

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